Coke Time – Highlights from the 2/26 Scott Owen Show

Up Front:

The one thing you can change that can add years to your life. Via @inc.

A new age of epidemics. Via @axios.

13 traits of successful entrepreneurs. Via @JeffreyFeldberg.

Why “Trust Bridges” are important to build in today’s privacy conscious world. Via @JacobsMedia.

Today in History:

Dr. Jonas Salk

1953: Dr. Jonas Salk announced his development of a vaccine that would prevent polio. There had been 58,000 new cases of the disease and 3,000 deaths from it during an epidemic the previous year.

1957: At Master Recorders in Hollywood, Ricky Nelson recorded his first three songs: ‘I’m Walkin” and ‘A Teenager’s Romance,’ were released in late April 1957 as the two sides of his first single on the Verve label.

1959: Novelist Raymond Chandler died of pneumonia at age 70.

1960: At RCA Studio B in Nashville, Roy Orbison recorded what became his first major hit, ‘Only The Lonely (Know How I Feel).’

1964: Former Beatles drummer Pete Best was a guest on the CBS-TV quiz show ‘I’ve Got A Secret.’ When host Gary Moore asked Best why he ‘left’ the group (Best was fired), he replied, ‘I thought I’d like to start a group of my own and I thought at that time they weren’t going to go as big as they are now.’

1964: The original Broadway production of the musical ‘Funny Girl,’ starring Barbra Streisand, Sydney Chaplin, Jean Stapleton, Roger De Koven, and Kay Medford, opened at New York’s Winter Garden Theatre for 1,348 performances.

1970: ‘Woodstock,’ a chronicle of the 1969 music festival held near that town in upstate New York, opened in movie theaters throughout North America.

1973: The daytime drama ‘The Young and the Restless‘ premiered on CBS-TV.

1980: Pink Floyd’s 1973 album ‘Dark Side Of The Moon‘ became the album with the longest consecutive stay on the Billboard 200 album chart, remaining there until 1988.

1982: In Washington, DC, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

1999: Dr. Jack Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder for giving a terminally ill man a lethal injection on September 17, 1998 and recording the event on videotape for CBS’ ’60 Minutes.’

2000: In Russia, acting President Vladimir Putin was elected president.

2004: Singer Jan Berry, of the duos Jan & Dean and Jan & Arnie, died following a stroke at the age of 62.

2006: Readers of the magazine Total Guitar voted the solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’ as the greatest guitar solo of all time.

2011: Attorney/politician Geraldine Ferraro, the Democratic congresswoman from New York who became the first woman on a major party presidential ticket as Walter Mondale’s vice presidential running mate in 1984, died of blood cancer at 75.

Happy Birthday to:
(1911) Tennessee Williams (d. 1983)
(1924) Bob Elliott (d. 2016)
(1930) Sandra Day O’Connor
(1931) Leonard Nimoy (d. 2015)
(1934) Alan Arkin
(1939) James Caan
(1942) Erica Jong
(1943) Bob Woodward
(1944) Diana Ross
(1948) Steve Tyler
(1949) Vicki Lawrence
(1950) Teddy Pendergrass (d. 2010)

Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting: “The sky isn’t the limit; the mind that sees the sky is the limit.” ~Byron Kafic


One thing hasn’t changed in broadcasting over the years: The sponsors drive the bus. Back in radio’s golden age, it was pretty overt.  The A&P GypsiesChampion Spark Plug HourThe Clicquot Club Eskimos, King Biscuit Time, (yup, just like the more recent King Biscuit Flower Hour), The Voice of Firestone and The Bell Telephone Hour, are all examples. As long form radio made the transition to television, some of the sponsor named programs came along.

Tops On TV – Tucson Daily Citizen 6/27/60 We wonder how Alice Abbot’s escort business worked out?

On June 27, 1960, hoping to maintain its dominance in the soft drink marketplace, Coca Cola presented “The Coke Hour”, featuring a cast that the ABC network hoped would appeal to a teenage audience. Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin, Annette Funicello, Anita Bryant, Edd “Kookie” Byrnes and Bob “Maynard G. Krebs” Denver were the guests. The reliable Pat Boone was the host.

Charlie Wadsworth, writing in the Orlando Sentinel, was skeptical. He wrote with the point of view that those of us who grew up in the 60s associate with “The Generation Gap”.

“What will make this show con­troversial,” he said,  “is the fact that these youngsters showed up for a TV program without their lip­ synchronized recording tricks and, more import­ant, their guitars. Other than for a six minute segment of reviews of some of their big song hits, the tricky-and, we must admit, deplorable recording devices which monopolize the Dick Clark Show and other of their TV appearances, were missing. These youngsters just stood up and sang… Knowing that there has been and would be more talk about their ability, we think these youngsters deserve considerable credit for agreeing to appear on the show. It is to be re­gretted that such other luminaries of the young record entertainment world as Elvis Presley and Fabian, to mention just two, were not present to· complete this side of the picture.”

The line-up and repertoire were carefully selected to connect with teens while not alienating adults. Bob Denver was in his second year of stardom as the breakout comedy foil for Dwayne Hickman  in “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” on CBS. Annette, of course, was already a household word, making a smooth transition from Mouseketeer to girl-next-door teen idol. The rest had enjoyed hit records, with Byrnes headed for TV stardom on 77 Sunset Strip and later on film in Grease as Dick Clark doppelganger Vince Fontaine.

The musical playlist naturally included the hits. Maynard and Kookie had a segment where they played 45s, that included, Paul Anka: “Diana,” “Put Your Head on My Shoulder,” “My Home Town.” Frankie Avalon: “Venus,” “Swinging on a Rainbow,” “Why,” “De De Dinah.” Bobby Darin: “Mack the Knife,” “Splish Splash,” “Clementine.” Annette: “Tall Paul,” “O Dio Mio.” Anita Bryant: “Till There Was You,” “Paper Roses.” Pat Boone: “Love Letters in the Sand,” “Tutti Fruitti,” “April Love,” “Why Baby, Why,” and others.

Just when the adults might be reaching for earplugs, Anka, Avalon, Boone and Darin swung into a medley of “Songs Their Mother’s Sang To Them” featuring  “Little Girl,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “Goody Goody For You,” all popularized in 1942.

Wadsworth concluded that, “They did all right. Boone, as all of us know, is possessed with a fine voice. The others are even more pleasant to take, without their recording devices. And who are we to argue with a 19-year-old boy (Paul Anka) whose voice, either with or without recording devices, has made it possible for both himself and his parents to retire tomorrow, if they choose?”


Both the cynical columnist and the soft drink company had their eyes squarely focused on the bottom line. Coke’s arch rival, Pepsi, had just come out with “For Those Who Think Young” as a slogan and was gaining in market share. Coke, meanwhile, had just acquired the Minute Maid company and it’s popular orange juice products. Anita Bryant would go on to become pitch-person for the Florida Orange Juice growers, until her political views became to controversial, proving then, as now, that it’s best to keep your persona views to yourself if you’re trying to appeal to the widest possible audience.

Hickman would later say that the Dobie Gillis show represented, “the end of innocence of the 1950s before the oncoming 1960s revolution”.

From the reactions both by the studio audience and the “folks at home”, Coke Time fell into that same category, a categorical success in the process.

And TV Columnist Charlie Wadsworth? He continued writing for Orlando Sentinel until his retirement in 1983. He died in 1999 at the age of 81.

For those interested in a deeper dive, the show is available on DVD.

Here’s rare video of the 45 medley. (Video)